Diamond Hill (Ireland)

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Diamond Hill
Binn Ghuaire
Diamond Hill. Connemara National Park - geograph.org.uk - 66068.jpg
Diamond Hill, viewed from Connemara National Park Visitor Centre in Letterfrack
Highest point
Elevation442 m (1,450 ft) [1]
Prominence277 m (909 ft) [1]
ListingMarilyn
Coordinates53°32′53.93″N 9°54′52.20″W / 53.5483139°N 9.9145000°W / 53.5483139; -9.9145000Coordinates: 53°32′53.93″N 9°54′52.20″W / 53.5483139°N 9.9145000°W / 53.5483139; -9.9145000[1]
Naming
English translationGuaire's peak
Language of nameIrish
Geography
Diamond Hill is located in Ireland
Diamond Hill
Diamond Hill
Location in Ireland
LocationLetterfrack, Galway, Ireland
Parent rangeTwelve Bens
OSI/OSNI gridL7313857049
Topo mapOSi Discovery 37
Geology
Type of rockPale quartzites, grits, graphitic top bedrock[1]
Climbing
Easiest routeNational Park Visitor Centre

Diamond Hill (Irish: Binn Ghuaire, meaning "Guaire's peak")[2] at only 442 metres (1,450 ft), does not rank as an Arderin,[3] or a Vandeleur-Lynam;[4] however, it has the prominence to rank as a Marilyn.[5] Diamond Hill is an isolated peak, situated beside the village of Letterfrack, in the northwest corner of the Twelve Bens in the Connemara National Park in Galway, Ireland.[6] It lies just west Knockbrack and the small massif of Benbrack, and looks into the Polladirk valley, around which several major Bens are located.[7] Despite its moderate size and isolated position, Diamond Hill is a popular peak with tourists due to its paths and boarded mountain trail, and relative ease of access, together with well-regarded views of the core Twelve Bens range, and western Connemara.[8][5][6]

Naming[edit]

According to Irish academic Paul Tempan, "Ghuaire" most likely refers to Guaire Aidne mac Colmáin (died 663), one of the Kings of Connacht and a member of the Ui Fiachrach Aidhne.[2] Guaire was renowned for his hospitality and generosity and was known as "Guaire of the extended hand", and is the title character in W.B. Yeats’ play, The King’s Threshold.[2] He is also associated with Dunguaire Castle, near the village of Kinvara.[2]

Tempan also notes that Diamond Hill is also known as "Bengooria", being an anglicised version of its Irish name, as well as "Benhoowirra", an alterative anglicisation.[9] The Discovery Map spells the name as "Diomond Hill", however, Tempan notes that this is not the locally accepted spelling (being "Diamond"), and relates to the glitter of the quartz crystals on the mountain.[2]

Geography[edit]

Diamond Hill is an isolated peak of the Twelve Bens, which lies in the north-west corner of the range. Immediately east of Diamond Hill is the minor peak of Knockbrack at 442 metres (1,450 ft), which is part of the small massif of Benbrack 582 metres (1,909 ft), one of the core Twelve Bens.[6][10]

To the north of Diamond Hill is Kylemore Lough (and Kylemore Abbey), and across the Lough is the massif of Garraun, which is part of the wider Twelve Bens/Garraun Complex Special Area of Conservation. To the west of Diamond Hill is the Ballinakill harbour (and weather permitting, views to the isles of Inishboffin and Inishark), and to the south are the western boglands and dotted lakes of Connemara.[6][10]

To the southeast is the scenic valley of Polladirk, around which several major Bens are located, including Benbrack, Benfree 638 metres (2,093 ft) (and Benbaun at 729 metres (2,392 ft), the tallest Ben in the range just behind Benfree), Muckanaght 654 metres (2,146 ft), and Bencullagh 632 metres (2,073 ft).[6][10][7]

Hill walking[edit]

Diamond Hill is popular for its accessibility and panoramic views,[11] only ranking behind Croagh Patrick for footfall,[8] and attracts both Irish walkers and foreign tourists.[10] The mountain was closed to climbing in 2002 due to severe erosion but was re-opened in December 2005 after the completion of a Euro 1.4 million wooden boardwalk and stone path trail that would limit further erosion.[12][11]

The most popular route is the 7-kilometre 2.5-hour round-trip trail that starts and ends at the National Park visitor centre in Letterfrack, and does a loop over the summit ridge and back to the main trail; it does not require any special hiking ability and the trail is well marked, with pathways and boardwalks over bog sections.[7] The trail splits into a Lower Diamond Hill Walk (3 km long loop), and an Upper Diamond Hill Walk (3.7 km long loop) which reaches the summit.[6]

Gallery[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Fairbairn, Helen (2014). Ireland's Best Walks: A Walking Guide. Collins Press. ISBN 978-1848892118.
  • MountainViews Online Database (Simon Stewart) (2013). A Guide to Ireland's Mountain Summits: The Vandeleur-Lynams & the Arderins. Collins Books. ISBN 978-1-84889-164-7.
  • Paul Phelan (2011). Connemara & Mayo - A Walking Guide: Mountain, Coastal & Island Walks. Collins Press. ISBN 978-1848891029.
  • Dillion, Paddy (2001). Connemara: Collins Rambler's guide. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0002201216.
  • Dillion, Paddy (1993). The Mountains of Ireland: A Guide to Walking the Summits. Cicerone. ISBN 978-1852841102.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Diamond Hill". MountainViews Online Database. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Paul Tempan (February 2012). "Irish Hill and Mountain Names" (PDF). MountainViews.ie.
  3. ^ Simon Stewart (October 2018). "Arderins: Irish mountains of 500+m with a prominence of 30m". MountainViews Online Database.
  4. ^ Simon Stewart (October 2018). "Vandeleur-Lynams: Irish mountains of 600+m with a prominence of 15m". MountainViews Online Database.
  5. ^ a b Mountainviews, (September 2013), "A Guide to Ireland's Mountain Summits: The Vandeleur-Lynams & the Arderins", Collins Books, Cork, ISBN 978-1-84889-164-7
  6. ^ a b c d e f Dillion, Paddy (2001). Connemara: Collins Rambler's guide. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0002201216. Walk 3: Diamond Hill, Connemara National Park
  7. ^ a b c Paul Phelan (2011). Connemara & Mayo - A Walking Guide: Mountain, Coastal & Island Walks. Collins Press. ISBN 978-1848891029. "Walk 3: Diamond Hill
  8. ^ a b Michael Guilfoyle (29 May 2019). "Walk for the Weekend: A gem of a hike with views over lakes and beaches". Irish Times. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  9. ^ Paul Tempan (February 2012). Irish Hill and Mountain Names (PDF). Mountaineering.ie. Mountaineering Ireland. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d Fairbairn, Helen (2014). Ireland's Best Walks: A Walking Guide. Collins Press. ISBN 978-1848892118. Walk 32: Diamond Hill
  11. ^ a b Pail Cullen (25 October 2004). "Diamond Hill gets €1.4m pathway to summit". Irish Times. Retrieved 8 August 2019. The ascent of "the Diamond" is one of the most popular climbs in Connemara. About 80,000 people visit the national park each year, and an estimated 10,000 attempt the climb.
  12. ^ "New walking track on Diamond Hill". Irish Times. 6 January 2006. Retrieved 8 August 2019. With the completion of the route, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of the Environment lifted a three-year ban on walking on Diamond Hill, imposed because of severe erosion on the mountain.

External links[edit]